The Celtics will resume negotiations with Larry Bird today, hoping for a quick settlement that will keep him with the team for the rest of his career. "I am going to sit down with Bob Woolf (Bird's agent) and get things started," said general manager Red Auerbach, settling in for the 1983-84 season.
Auerbach, whose vacation was twice interrupted by negotiations for the team's sale, also has set the wheels in motion to bring Eric Fernsten back and keep M.L. Carr around, if he is willing. Fernsten filed a grievance when he was cut before the 1982-83 season, claiming he was injured at the time. He will undergo a physical this morning
and, if he clears, will be allowed to try out for the club.
Carr is a free agent making about $350,000 a year. With his limited playing time and injury problems the last few years, Auerbach does not feel he is worth that much. If Carr is willing to sign a contract more in line with what Auerbach feels his present value is, he will come to training camp with the rest of the players.
Auerbach had two meetings with head coach K.C. Jones yesterday, talking about Fernsten and Carr and their possible contributions to the team. But the first consideration is Bird's contract. Harry Mangurian started talks with Bird six weeks ago, but they were put on hold when negotiations for the team's sale began. Mangurian is still the owner until the sale is approved by the league.
Authority to negotiate Bird's contract was given to Auerbach by the new owners - Dave Gaston, Paul Dupee and Alan Cohen - after they reached an agreement in principle to buy the club for $15 million. Bird, who wants to sign for either six or seven years, is looking to be paid about $2 million per year. Moses Malone is the highest-paid player in the league at $2.1 million.